Our Farm – The Chickens
This was originally posted on Darkcargo.com on 2/26/2011. It is reposted here with the permission of Lady Darkcargo. If you like science fiction, fantasy, and good books, check her blog out.
I need a cool little name for our little farm (We have since chosen Round Table Farm). We hope to sell at the local farmer’s market starting this summer (Still hoping for this summer). Any ideas? We live on 6.5 acres, and only about 3.5 are used for animals and the quarter acre garden. We have perhaps 17 chickens, 20 goats (2 of which are pregnant), 4 donkeys, 10 cats, and an old, fat, 80-pound, lapdog of a pitbull.
Last winter, a little over a year ago, our neighbors gave us six elderly hens, Auracanas, that were destined for the coyotes. We already had a coop on the edge of the property, with a small yard. Why not try out our chicken skills on the elderly in the middle of winter? Then another neighbor gave us a young, large rooster, a silver-laced Wyandotte. A very handsome fellow I named Lord Kluck Kluck. Apparently, he was chasing the neighbor’s wife and daughter. Of course we need a dangerous 18-inch, feathered, untrainable pet. He has attacked us humans numerous times, and I have some interesting scars on my lower legs to prove it. However, a simple stick is enough to keep him in line. He sees it and then sulks; but no attacking. (Lord Kluck Kluck has since passed on, from natural causes. )
So last summer we decided to expand our harem for The Lord Kluck Kluck. We got several chicks during the heat of summer, so they could live outside instead of in a heated box in the kitchen. I also picked up two hens that the owner was going to axe. I picked out some Ostrolorps, because they get to the same size as the Auracanas, about 8 pounds. Lord Kluck Kluck is between 10-12 pounds. I rarely pick him up, and when I do it is not to quietly and calmly assess his weight.
On a whim I also picked out some Cornish game hens. The teenager at the local feed store gamely put them in a cardboard box and lugged my chicks up to the check-out counter. I asked them to tape the lid down, to which I got a lopsided grin and the old clerk folded the flaps in. I had this image of me half-way home (about a 40-minute trip) and some inadvertent chicken cooperation leading to the lid popping open and chicks all over the inside of the car, including under the brake pedal.
Safely home, I turned them loose under the bush in their expanded yard. Over the months, we had a few problems – hawks, drowning – but most lived. And it turns out that two of my Cornish hens were Cornish game cocks. They are incredibly cute, being a max of 2 pounds, with gorgeous plumage and a crow that sounds like a really good kazoo. They have claimed the red Ostrolorp hens as theirs and readily mount them. The hens usually continue to do whatever they are doing, carrying this little cock around on their backs, while he is fully engaged in procreating. I’ll leave that visual up to you.
It is still February and already we get 4-9 eggs a day. Auracanas are green, Ostrolorps are brown, and the single little Cornish game hen gives me perfectly white diminutive eggs.